Identicons, MonsterID’s, and Wavatars! Oh my!

April 22, 2008 | Posted by Demitrious Kelly

We know that some sites don’t always appreciate the big blue G being all over their comments sections. Many sites use the default option to give their non-gravatar-able comments a feeling of continuity with their site design, but we’ve heard you calling out for more. It’s not ideal that anyone who isn’t “in” doesnt get to be unique.

For the community member Gravatar should be able to give you an implicit identity, letting you customize it explicitly from there. For the site owner Gravatar should give your site a feeling of community, helping to solidify your hard work by giving your members a face, some semblance of permanence.

Looking around at the existing wordpress plugins for inspiration we found these three exceptional projects: WP_Identicon, WP-MonsterID, and the Wavatars plugin. We decided to take the truly inspiring work that these projects have done, and internalized those ideas into gravatar. Now you will be able to specify a &default= value of wavatar, monsterid, or identicon to produce results like these:





Please let us know if there are others that you think would be worth supporting. And again: Kudos to the authors of these plugins for their hard work and brilliant ideas!

114 Responses

  1. Alenônimo says:

    I’ve already implemented on my site. But my I make an suggestion?

    You see… Both Wavatar and MonsterID are… well… ugly and bad drawed. You could make some new ones, with anti-alias, by people who know how to draw… It would be cooler.

    If I knew how to make these, I would do something cool. Where’s the specifications?

  2. lori says:

    I think the monsters are totally cool looking 🙂

  3. ScottS-M says:

    That’s great. I’ve been wondering when gravatar would implement something like this.

    Can’t really argue with you there although at least Identicons don’t take any drawing skills. Anyway funnily enough, someone who knows how to draw voluntarily drew up some cool new monster for the MonsterID plugin. It takes a bit more processing power to color them in though so not sure how gravatar would handle it (although I think you might be able to cut out the inner shading and just overlay it like Shamus does with the Wavatar’s gradients).

    Also since I don’t want to steal anybody’s thunder, the original ideas for Identicons came from Don Park and from Andreas Gohr for MonsterId’s.

  4. chaoskaizer says:

    second that, those 3 above is ‘not a pleasant avatar’.

    IMO the default Gravatar is presentable maybe you could create a transparent background (PNG or GIF) instead of the default “blue”.

  5. photolord says:

    Neat idea. I like it.

  6. Viper007Bond says:

    Alenônimo: they are generated by computers from a list of pre-made shapes and styles and are based on the e-mail hash. Click the links for Wavarar and MonsterID in the original post above and you’ll see.

  7. Bruce says:

    Shame that this was a priority over reversing the pulling of alpha-transparent PNG during the last downgrade that broke many people’s gravatars—which they had already been happy with.

  8. matthewmmoore says:

    Is there some way to set a second default if the wavatar fails? Some of the trackbacks on my blog don’t have an associated email address, so I end up with an empty 2 pixel square box where the avatar should be.

  9. I created a heart shaped gravatar image as the default for my site. 🙂

  10. I agree with Bruce. One thing people _are_ asking for is PNG’s and transparency…

  11. […] קראתי שבgravatar מוסיפים בצורה די פשוטה פונקציונליות של בחירת סוגי אווטרים שונים למגיבים שלא קיים בשבילהם אווט…, ובעצם מאחדים פונקציונליות של שלושה תוספים לתוך […]

  12. fredelig says:

    Perfect, thanks…

    I think the Wavatars look great! 🙂

  13. Edward says:

    The monsterid is cute! 😀

  14. x111 says:

    I love the idea, but I’m hoping better looking sets will be added. I think I’ll go for the Wavatars.

  15. Cool! I Stumbled this.

    I do agree with Alenonimo though, the monsters and wavatars aren’t very slick and hopefully it will be possible for the plugin to accept customized blog iconsets


  16. It would help if the Gravatar logo could be customized a bit. Like change the size and colors. I’m not impressed with the other three.

  17. Gravatar Blog + Safari 3.1 (Mac) don’t play well together…weird.

    I’d like to see transparency and PNG too!

  18. jo0lz says:

    I prefer having my own default avatar. Frankly, all the “default” gravatars are quite ugly 😀

  19. […] read on the Gravatar blog that several popular icon systems have been simply built in to the Gravatar system. This means my Wavatars plugin is now superfluous. Instead of installing Wavatars on your blog, you […]

  20. the idea is good, the execution is …

    hopefully this will inspire someone to make nicer looking default avatars (auto-generated or not)

  21. Matt says:

    Dig the idea, and thanks for making it easy to execute, but . . .

    It would’ve been nice if you’d at least notified the plug-in authors before taking over their inventions. Even better, how about tossing some of that $29M in venture capital in their general direction?

    After all, a blog thanks a respect knuckles don’t pay the bills, you know?

  22. GreyDuck says:

    This is dead sexy. I have the Easy Gravatars plugin installed now, and replaced the “default image URL” value with simply ‘wavatar’ and… it works! No muss, no fuss, no diddling around with my theme code. Color me thrilled.

    (I love Mandingo: Not once have I had to touch the raw PHP files, and I have random banner graphics and my Google Analytics and Gravatar/Wavatar support and… yeah. Dead sexy.)

  23. […] Identicons, MonsterID’s and Wavatars! Oh My! […]

  24. jazzle says:

    just a pale (partially transparent) blue G would suit me

  25. John says:

    Why not just allow anyone with a Gravatar account to upload their own image that will display for anonymous or non-gravatar users? Couldn’t this be just as easily acheived as Gravatar is to begin with?

  26. Matt says:

    John, you can pass a URL to the default parameter to redirect it to your own image, a semi-transparent blue G, anything you want. That’s the whole idea.

  27. Viper007Bond says:

    matthewmmoore: edit your theme and hide Gravatars for trackbacks via a conditional.

  28. Travis says:

    this is related to matthewmmoore’s question — but if someone doesn’t enter their email address it displays a broken image. is there a way to hide gravatars if no email address is present — i mean, i’m sure there is but i’m not smart like that. can someone help me out with some simple instructions?

  29. […] and they were originally conceived by Don Park. With a single parameter, you can have the Gravatar API fall back to an identicon or even force it to return one. This works in any size Gravatar supports, up to 512 pixels. Sweet! (0) […]

  30. Partha says:

    I hope for hoping better / eye shooting looks will be added. I think I’ll go for the Wavatars.

  31. Ben says:

    These are a nice addition as the blue G isn’t a great default for most sites.

    I’d like to see a more subtle 4th set added, just something to brighten the comments up but nothing really OTT like the monsters. The Identicons are nice but are too bright for black backgrounds.

  32. Fiona says:

    I loveing it! 🙂 The look to sweet! 🙂

  33. […] who has commented on anything around the site now has their own totally unique avatar! This uses a clever bit of plugin called wavatar to create unique monsters for everybody who hasn’t set up their own Gravatar […]

  34. jacksonj04 says:

    As noted by Travis and matthewmmoore comments without an email address (Which includes trackbacks) return an invalid image URL. This is an implementation problem with WordPress (And possibly other blogs, not sure), not Gravatar. I look to Automattic for a fix, since it’s their application 😀

  35. Otto says:


    Implementing this with WordPress 2.5 turns out to be super easy. All that has to be done is to add a third parameter to the get_avatar call. So mine looked like this before:
    echo get_avatar($comment, 40);

    And now it looks like this:
    echo get_avatar($comment, 40, ‘identicon’);

    Just that simple.

  36. […] O Gravatar incorporou três variações novas, todas frutos do trabalho de usuários do WordPress que já procuravam aderir à idéia dos Identicons: Os projetos WP_Identicon, WP-MonsterID e Wavatars foram automaticamente mesclados ao Gravatar original, o que facilita a inclusão de qualquer um deles em substituição ao padrão original. Para isso, basta acrescentar o sufixo &default=opção à função get_avatar() original, onde “opção” pode ser qualquer uma dessas: […]

  37. […] missed photo day at school” silhouette for their avatar image, however also just rolled out the ability to generate images for people who don’t have a registered image us…. The idea here is that the generated image is always the same for any given input (i.e. […]

  38. […] was right. I am sick of seeing the default little “gray guy” for all the people who were […]

  39. […] feature that I have discovered is to set the default to wavatar (other options exist, check the link)! […]

  40. Pete says:

    Nice! And so easy. I have also developed a cool little plugin to allow local avatars for registerd users of your blog…
    Here’s the link –

    So, now you can have the best of all worlds! Gravatars, personalised Gravatars, and localised user Avatars!


  41. […] looks like Gravatar has added Identicons and MonsterIDs to their system. I’d been wondering when they would add […]

  42. dino says:

    how i get my gravatar??

  43. […] week the gravatar guys had announced that they have integrated the functionality of three wordpress plugins, which created a random […]

  44. earlemartin says:

    MonsterID, yes, well… how about OpenID, guys?

  45. Stephen Chu says:

    This sounds like a solution looking for problem. We can customize what the guest/missing icon looks like for years. Or am I missing something? Oh, yes. Transparent support many many people want and use that got pulled.

    Weird priority if you ask me.

  46. […] 25. April 2008 | Autor: chodo Gravatar hat ein neues Feature eingeführt: Man kann für nicht bei registrierte User nun Identicons, Wavatars oder MonsterIDs anze…. Wer dadurch seine Privatsphäre eingeschränkt sieht, der kann natürlich einfach eine der vielen […]

  47. […] Identicons, MonsterID’s, and Wavatars! Oh my! « Gravatar Blog (WordPress,PlugIn) […]

  48. […] can have not only Gravatar when displaying comments, there are also Identicons, MonsterID and Wavatars. And, we can have them from […]

  49. […] Identicons, MonsterID’s, and Wavatars! Oh my! Information about adding a single parameter to your Gravatar call to have the service provide an ‘identicon’ for people who don’t have Gravatar account, instead of the default Gravatar logo. […]

  50. hernaaan says:

    I do think that you have to improve resizing of the default blue G. I have 50×50 px Gravatars, and when I tried the ‘default’ option the resize of the G was awful, so I *had* to go back to the plain white/gray man.

    And could exist the posibility of having identicons (or even blue Gs) for trackbacks and pingbacks? If not, the border I assigned to gravatars would look quite nonsense.


  51. […] of code. You’ll need to add a bit more to that to enable Identicon/Wavatar/MonsterID. Try going here to know how to do […]

  52. […] can change the word “wavatar” to default, identicon, or monsterid. See the gravatar blog post to read about these options. I just like wavatars the […]

  53. […] from a while back, so I’m glad they had a recent backup copy. In other news, I also added the new Gravatar support for Identicons to the comments. That means that now instead of the boring old “blank face”, anyone who […]

  54. nel says:

    yes ça marche

  55. hooihong says:

    not bad… trying this out now 😀

  56. […] Added an option to use Wavatars, MonsterIDs and Identicons through Gravatar as described here […]

  57. […] в Gravatar создали прекрасную фичу. Суть ее в том, что для пользователей, которые не […]

  58. […] MonsterID, and Wavatar support (Set alternatives to Gravatar, like Identicons when there is none. More) or add sorting to gallery items (An attempt to integrate the reorder plugin into wordpress – […]

  59. spamboy says:

    Excellent information. That one little line has completely changed how my comments look on my blog. Thank you!

  60. tonyf12 says:

    Am I missing something? They all are precisely the same image.

  61. […] (or worse, a default graphic that doesn’t aesthetically mesh with your site’s theme), a graphical hash is instead displayed in its place. The pattern and color are calculated from the IP address of the comment author, so it […]

  62. ciprianmp says:

    I see there is a hiden (not discussed) option for gravatar link: &forcedefault=1 (&f=1 in v2.0) simply f or f=0 also force the default gravatar.
    Can someone confirm please?

    If confirmed, I would like to see this:
    f=0 force to display a registered gravatar – if exists.
    If an user doesn’t have a gravatar acount, his email will get a default gravatar which gets into cache. If the user registers, he gets a new gravatar for all his gravatar links, except for that used before registration (that one still uses the monsterid default from cache).
    Here is a sample: – registered gravatar – the monsterid gravatar used before registration, which still stays in cache (btw… how long does it take for the cache to be refreshed?)

    In this respect, I would like &f=0 to force the registered gravatar and not the default (maybe to refresh the cache for that email)
    Is it possible?

  63. […] a gravatar. Now WordPress can source an alternative like Identicon, MonsterID, or Wavatars. More. Anyway if you still havent got a Gravatar, get it […]

  64. […] ei ole, genereeritakse arvuti poolt unikaalne avatar. Mina valisin genereeritavatele piltidele wavatar‘i […]

  65. […] non-Gravatar users (i.e. almost everybody) would get ugly default icons though, but more recently other options have been added that allows an image to be auto-generated based off the commentor’s email […]

  66. ARS says:

    Thanks alot. I’ve used this trick for my blog 🙂

  67. […] MonsterID, and Wavatar support Generate special gravatar icons for commenters who have […]

  68. Jacky Supit says:

    i wish you could give us a random image with one single image url only.
    so i can get all those 4 (or more) images randomly rotate and accessed by one single url.

  69. Ira says:

    slightly nicer wavatars rendering I found:

    but I would prefer a less “aggressive” theme, if anyone comes up with one :-/ No graphic artist myself…

  70. Ariel Bravy says:

    How ’bout some sort of example avatars in the WP admin page so we know what the random icons look like for general users?

  71. generationyesus says:

    Great post!

  72. […] those attendees without a gravatar, an identicon will be included on your […]

  73. […] without a Gravatar will have an identicon […]

  74. cyphertek says:

    The future is now with these Gravatars, a nice touch making web 2.0 a reality.

  75. […] Blog Heraldの記事にもなっていましたが、今回初めて、WordPressユーザーにはおなじみのGravatarsアバター写真がカンファレンスバッジに印刷されました(Andy のブログに詳細があります)。写真を登録していない人にはデフォルトの「アイデンティコン」が印刷されるというところまでWordPressと同じなのがおもしろいです。 […]

  76. veresh says:

    thanks this will greatly help

  77. […] even work in internet explorer (ugh). This new update should include support for GRAVATARS, identicons, wavatars, and monsterids. Thats for thouse of us who cruise the […]

  78. Grischa says:

    Serendipity Avatar Plugin 1.44…

    Wie man in meinem Blog erkennen kann, habe ich wieder mal eine Erweiterung in das Serenditpity Avatar Plugin eingebaut. Bei einem befreundeten Blog habe ich so genannte Wavatare entdeckt, die mir richtig gut gefallen. Gravatar hat inzwischen einen Fall…

  79. Vinícius says:

    Ravatar support could be really cool too! 🙂

  80. isdope says:

    I think identicon is catchy. I sometimes wonder about the pattern it has.
    hahaha, silly me.

  81. […] Oprócz dostarczania rozrywki ta strona może służyć do automatycznego generowania avatarów, jako aternatywa dla innych systemów. […]

  82. […] pretty useful if you’re looking for automatically generated avatars for your blog. There are other alternatives like Identicons, Wavatar or MonsterID which do the same […]

  83. Doug says:

    I guess it’s assumed that the Gravatars can’t actually be trusted as identifiers across sites, and can only be trusted even within a single site if that site uses some kind of email validation? I mean, since anyone can provide any email address on many sites. Or am I missing something here?

  84. […] vil vise fjeset sitt ved å registrere seg på Gravatar får et monster som bilde i kommentarfelet (MonsterID er min nye venn. Mye triveligere enn de tamme mønstrene: ). Til å begynne med vet jeg faktisk […]

  85. […] those attendees without a gravatar, an identicon will be included on your […]

  86. […] . If you don’t upload a custom avatar, you will be represented by a random but consistent monster face or a geometric shape or wavatar. Isn’t technology […]

  87. chaiguy1337 says:

    How about giving Gravatar USERS the ability to choose an automatically generated image as one of their image options (i.e. show them automatically in our list of images to choose from), instead of just Gravatar consumers? I’d like to know what my auto-generated images (wavatar/monster/identicon) look like and the option of using them as my Gravatar.

  88. […] had spots looping over themselves and nasty sharp points. I might try turning the inkblots into a Wavatar-like […]

  89. Chris Moody says:

    All of my Gravatars stopped working last week on my site. I’ve attached the comments.php, can anyone see what is wrong? I didn’t change anything, but they all disappeared.

    post_password)) { // if there’s a password
    if ($_COOKIE[‘wp-postpass_’ . COOKIEHASH] != $post->post_password) { // and it doesn’t match the cookie

    This post is password protected. Enter the password to view comments.

    <a href="#respond" title="”>»

    comment_author_email == get_the_author_email()) {
    $isByAuthor = true;

    <li id="comment-” >


    comment_approved == ‘0’) : ?>
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    # at

    comment_status) : ?>

    Comments are closed.

    comment_status) : ?>

    Leave your response!

    You must be <a href="/wp-login.php?redirect_to=”>logged in to post a comment.

    <form action="/wp-comments-post.php” method=”post” id=”commentform”>

    Logged in as <a href="/wp-admin/profile.php”>. <a href="/wp-login.php?action=logout” title=”Log out of this account”>Logout »

    Add your comment below, or <a href="” rel=”trackback”>trackback from your own site. You can also via RSS.

    Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

    <input type="text" name="author" id="author" value="” size=”22″ tabindex=”1″ class=”field” />

    <input type="text" name="email" id="email" value="” size=”22″ tabindex=”2″ class=”field” />
    Mail (will not be published)

    <input type="text" name="url" id="url" value="” size=”22″ tabindex=”3″ class=”field” />
    Website (optional)

    You can use these tags:
    This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.

    <input type="hidden" name="comment_post_ID" value="” />

    ID); ?>

  90. twistedlemonagency says:

    Hi I am so new to this blogging. Are you able to select the monster per profile (the user themselveS) how do you do that? My profile doesnt allow me to change it and I cant find my avatar. Love the drawings though

  91. ChikaBebe says:

    im using the one with the cute monster face on my site 🙂 and it’s cute

  92. […] many people, blog avatar plugins like Wavatar, Identicon and MonsterID  are all they have to choose from in addition to the widely supported Gravatar. But what if stick […]

  93. amitrange says:

    please provide proper documentation.
    if emailaddress is not found i do not want to disply default image i want to display my image..

  94. Cahya says:

    I think somehow, yes, it really useful, make some friends of mine, would turn and use the appropriate Gravatar after they saw their monsterous faces 😀

  95. Sherice says:

    If stick figures and quilt patterns aren’t your style, I’ve developed a WordPress plugin that will let you upload custom avatars to match the theme of your blog. You can download it for free here:

    If you already have a Gravatar, the plugin will use that by default, otherwise it will randomly choose one that you’ve uploaded. There’s also a resource where you can get very nice free icons in a variety of themes and colors. Enjoy!

  96. […] my app I went ahead and added gravatar icon support with identicon fallback if the user hasn’t registered her email address on the gravatar […]

  97. […] the nicest thing to have, so I looked whether there are any alternatives, and actually there are. Three of them come with the WordPress implementation at (if you actually hosted the […]

  98. Toby says:

    This is awesome, thanks

  99. Does anyone know how to add a gravatar feature to my blog, more specifically the comment section?

  100. ArT® says:

    amazing. Thank you.

  101. jason millar says:

    You guys totally need to make a “robot” version of these. randomly generated robots. very cool.

  102. Man the monsters are so cool!!

  103. […] y publicaciones (aunque eso sólo me atañe a mí). Por fin el gravatar funcionando y el MonsterID operativo (por frikerío). El monsterID sirve para poner un avatar aleatorio a aquellos que no […]

  104. Underhill says:

    Thanks – this is a great feature 🙂 – it is nice that users who haven’t setup gravatar yet can still have a nice temporary avatar.

  105. Thank you.
    I didn’t use Gravatar until now…
    Nice gAvatars….

  106. Hannah P. says:

    Thanks for creating these three plug-ins. What caught my attention is the WP_MonsterID’s. It is truly dynamically generating a unique monster avatars for those user that boosting my curiosity.

  107. Kawika says:

    Hey guys, you really should check out the spiffier wavatars available at this site: It would be awesome if you would integrate it into

  108. […] Identicons, Wavicons, and MonsterIDs are automatically generated images that can be used in place of a Gravatar in the event that the user does not want to create one.  These images are generated by a hash of the user’s email address (or IP address, in the event that the user chooses not to enter an email address). […]

  109. […] Can the WordPress support forums please lose the new default user icons? The MonsterIDs are freaking me out. […]

  110. […] am using Gravatar as an example, but there are other custom avatars to choose from, read about them here. If you want to learn more, watch the video […]

  111. Coldhand's says:

    The monster ID is cool I think,. But, may be you should try to make another generating ID,. I recommend you a sign,. Just like the Identicon, but simpler, example: white ‘S’ letter in arial font, white colour in black background,. Usually, the guest didn’t like the gravatar because the ID didn’t look like their expression, too angry, ugly, wrong gender, etc,. But, with the sign, it’s neutral, right?, just like Identicon,. Sorry ’bout my bad English, but I just want to give suggestion,. thanks,.

  112. john says:

    It would be neat if you’ll have android icons (e.g. as that of android platform).

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